Thursday, April 30, 2009

ESPN "Rise," an outlet for coverage of up-and-coming high school athletes, has a feature article on LSU recruit Rachele Fico, who recently threw her 22nd career perfect game.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Pac 10 offers some important midweek games today, as UCLA travels to Washington, and Arizona visits ASU. In Tempe, it will be a double-header of sorts, as the teams will first finish a rain-suspended game from earlier in the season (with U-of-A in the role of home team) and then play the regularly scheduled game.

Talking about the Bruins, the latest column from ESPN.com's Graham Hays discusses how UCLA pitcher Megan Langenfeld may go down as a tranformational figure in the history of college softball.

UPDATE 1: Washington's Danielle Lawrie no-hits UCLA, as the Huskies win 3-0.

UPDATE 2: Arizona wins 3-2 over ASU in the completion of the rain-suspended game.

UPDATE 3: 'Zona makes it a sweep over ASU, 10-6.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

With a two-game sweep at Missouri this weekend, Oklahoma has clinched the Big 12 title for this year.

UCLA added a Saturday-Sunday sweep over ASU (now 7-6 in the conference), to its Friday night win over U-of-A, to round out its swing through Arizona. The Bruins started out Pac 10 play at 1-4, and are now 10-4. Arizona (9-4) and Washington (8-6) split their two games. Stanford, which was perfect this weekend against the Oregon schools, is 10-5. Cal, which did likewise, is 8-7.

In the Big 10, Northwestern was swept this weekend in a two-games series with Illinois, dropping the Wildcats to a 12-4 conference record. Michigan, which took two from Wisconsin, is now 10-2 in Big 10 play; the Wolverines lost a pair of one-run games at Northwestern to open conference play, but have been perfect within the league ever since. Another team to look out for is Ohio State (12-2), which played out of conference this weekend. The Buckeyes face a tough upcoming road schedule that will likely make or break their Big 10 title hopes:

Sat, May 2 at Northwestern
Sun, May 3 at Northwestern
Wed, May 6 at Michigan (DH)

Finally, Florida (49-3 overall, 26-1 conference) continues to cruise through SEC play.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Last night's winners in the crucial Pac 10 games taking place in the desert were UCLA (2-1 over Arizona) and ASU (9-2 over Washington).

The Bruins and Sun Devils will now play each other today and Sunday, as will U-of-A and U-Dub.

Friday, April 24, 2009

This weekend's signature games would have to be UCLA and Washington visiting the Arizona schools. U-of-A leads the Pac 10 standings at 8-2, but has benefited from getting to play the vast majority of its conference games at home, thus far. At the conclusion of this weekend's action, the Wildcats will have played 10 of their first 13 Pac 10 games in the friendly confines of Hillenbrand Stadium. Arizona will then play its final eight conference games on the road.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Ultimate College Softball has put up its Watch List (to be updated daily) of all NCAA Division I teams' prospects of making the 64-team national tournament field. Take a look to see whether your favorite team is already projected to be "In" on the basis of an excellent record thus far, if it needs to win its conference tournament, or is somewhere in between these two extremes.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The U-of-A Wildcats were the big winner this weekend, as the Pac 10's northern California schools came down to play the two Arizona schools. The Wildcats swept their three games (one against Stanford, two against Cal). ASU nearly did as well, dropping only an extra-inning affair against the Cardinal.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Just a couple hours ago, Big 12 leader Missouri completed a 12-0 run-rule shellacking of Texas Tech here in Lubbock (article). As noted in the ESPN.com article I cited in yesterday's posting, Mizzou relies on both aggressive baserunning and powerful hitting. I was able to take what I think are some decent photos of the action.

First, the Tigers' Lindsey Ubrun, here being pursued by Red Raider catcher Holley Gentsch in a rundown, ran back toward third fast enough to draw a throw from Gentsch, and then beat the throw back home (you can click on this photo -- and all others -- to enlarge them).


Teammate Abby Vock wasn't as lucky, being thrown out at home on a steal attempt.


As for Mizzou's slugging prowess, Marla Schweisberger homered (see celebration below), to go along with five Tiger doubles.


Stacy Delaney, a University of Michigan transfer (ouch!) started for the Tigers, but was given the afternoon off after a few innings once the game appeared out of reach for the Red Raiders.


The only bright spots for Texas Tech were the weather (mild and sunny) and the attendance (not bad, considering the spring football game was going on opposite softball).

Friday, April 17, 2009

In key Pac 10 action this weekend, the Arizona schools host the northern California schools.

In the Big 12, an up-and-coming Missouri team that was recently spotlighted by ESPN.com writer Graham Hays, comes here to Lubbock to face Texas Tech.

Monday, April 13, 2009

As can be seen from the purple-and-black logo to the right, I was invited to join the Women Talk Sports network and have agreed to do so. Obviously, I'm a man, but my blog's subject matter of NCAA softball fits squarely with the aim of raising awareness of, and interest in, women's sports. Practically speaking, there won't be any changes in the operations of the College Softball Blog. For those of you whose interest in women's athletics encompasses additional sports beyond softball, however, a click on the Women Talk Sports icon will take you to a venue for following the full gamut of women's sports.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

UCLA swept Washington with a 10-0 (run-rule) rout of the Huskies today. The Bruins' Megan Langenfeld allowed no hits in the game's five innings. Combined with yesterday's game, Langenfeld pitched 16 innings against U-Dub and gave up only one hit.

Cal took two of three from Stanford.

ASU and Arizona had their game halted by rain.

Friday, April 10, 2009

This afternoon's game featuring Washington at UCLA turned into a titanic pitcher's duel, as the Bruins won 2-0 in 11 innings. UCLA's Megan Langenfeld pitched no-hit ball for the regulation seven innings and ended up allowing only one hit in a complete-game effort. A walk-off homer by Andrea Harrison off Husky ace Danielle Lowrie ended the game.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

This weekend in Pac 10 play, starting tonight, will feature the natural geographic rivalries (note that UCLA and Washington are partnered, because USC and Washington St. don't have softball teams). These are the games, as I've copied and pasted from the Pac 10 website:

Apr. 9, 2009
CALIFORNIA at STANFORD 7 p.m. PT
(For those of you with extended cable or satellite TV packages, this game will be shown on CBS College Sports)

Apr. 10, 2009
ARIZONA vs. ARIZONA STATE 7 p.m. PT
CALIFORNIA vs. STANFORD 4 p.m. PT
OREGON vs. OREGON STATE 4 p.m. PT
UCLA vs. WASHINGTON 1 p.m. PT

Apr. 11, 2009
ARIZONA vs. ARIZONA STATE 7 p.m. PT
CALIFORNIA vs. STANFORD 1 p.m. PT
OREGON vs. OREGON STATE 1 p.m. PT
UCLA vs. WASHINGTON 1 p.m. PT

Not to slight the other major conferences, but the Pac 10 clearly seems to have the most quality depth, with exciting match-ups every weekend.

In the SEC, Florida has established itself as the class of the league at 18-1 in conference. The next fewest losses belong to Alabama, with four. A positive sign for the SEC is that Georgia is now in the top 10 in both major national polls.

The top of the Big 10 standings in conference play look like this:

Northwestern 9-1
Ohio State 7-1
Illinois 5-2
Michigan 4-2

What would appear to be the most important remaining games are not for a while, with Ohio State going on the road to face two major rivals, Northwestern (May 2-3) and Michigan (May 6, doubleheader). Illinois has not yet played Ohio State, Michigan, or Northwestern, so the Illini will probably fall in the standings. Illinois plays at Ohio State this weekend, so now is the chance for the Illini to prove me wrong.

Finally, the Big 12's leaders are as follows:

Texas 7-2
Missouri 6-2
Oklahoma 7-3
Baylor 6-3

Missouri and Oklahoma, respectively, are Nos. 10 and 11 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll, and Nos. 11 and 13 in the USA Today/NFCA poll. No other conference teams are near the top 10 nationally.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Stanford swept the Oregon schools to hold first place in the Pac 10 at 5-1. Washington swept the Arizona schools, leaving the Huskies, Sun Devils, and Wildcats tied for second, each at 4-2. UCLA edged Arizona 3-2 on Sunday to break a four-game conference losing streak.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Arizona State slugger Kaitlin Cochran had her streak of a home-run in seven straight games snapped Saturday at Washington (box score). The game only went five innings instead of the regulation seven, as the Huskies' 11-3 lead triggered the mercy rule to end the game; under ordinary circumstances, therefore, Cochran probably would have gotten an additional plate appearance. A tip of the batting helmet to the folks at Ultimate College Softball, who pointed out the streak.

Cross-posted at my Hot Hand site.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Washington pitcher Danielle Lawrie threw a no-hitter as the Huskies blanked Arizona, 6-0. Meanwhile, Arizona State shut out UCLA, 5-0.